Spreading The Love: The Offense

They did it!

The Vikings laid the smack down on their most hated rivals, the Green Bay Packers, in front of a gigantic Monday night audience.  They remain atop the NFC North division, ahead of the Bears by one game.  They are ahead of the Packers by two games now, and 3 ahead of the Lions.

The Vikings were firing on almost every cylinder, meaning there is lots of good stuff to talk about.  Let’s take a look at what went right on the offense, and probably also a few things that could still improve:

Brett Favre Played Like Brett Favre

Before the game started Brad Childress made the redundantly obvious statement that he wanted Brett Favre to just go out there and play football like Brett Favre.  And, boy, did he!

You knew Favre was going to play well, because the guy has a long, long, long history of winning those “special” games.  He did not disappoint, as he was calm and precise, making great reads and putting the ball exactly where it needed to be.

His quarterback rating was an outstanding 135.3 as he went 24 of 31 for 271 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions.  He also managed to keep the Packers defense completely on their heels by completing passes to 8 different receivers, including guys who normally don’t get much action like Dugan and Tahi.  All three touchdowns were caught by different receivers.

Dear Offensive Line:  You Rocked

While the offensive line struggled to get Adrian Peterson any real big holes to run through, the line did an admirable job against the Pack’s new and overrated heralded 3-4 defense.  I was concerned that pass protection and offensive line penalties would be the Achilles heal for the Vikings last night, but those guys really stepped up. 

The Vikings were not penalized once in the first half, and only twice in the second half.  Even more importantly, the O-Line didn’t allow Favre to get sacked a single time.  In fact, the evening was highlighted by Favre dropping back to pass against a max-protect defense, and Favre has a whopping 7.3 seconds to sit back there and find an open receiver (Jeff Dugan) for a first down.  Getting that amount of time to throw the ball in the NFL is unheard of.

If Bryant McKinnie and Phil Loadholt can protect the passer that consistently from here on out, then we have a couple of first-time Pro Bowlers on our hands.

Don’t Be Down On Adrian

Adrian Peterson had a frustrating game.  He rushed 25 times for only 55 yards and 1 touchdown.  He also allowed rookie linebacker, Clay Matthews, to strip the ball from his hands and take it back for a touchdown.

It doesn’t look great, and it really wasn’t.  The key stat, however, is that Adrian ran the ball 25 times.  Even though he couldn’t find daylight against the Packers stacked defense, him getting that many attempts meant that the Pack had no choice but to keep stacking the box.  Favre’s great day and the offensive lines success can easily be attributed to Adrian keeping the defense honest.

Not to mention that his presence on the field made the play action work to perfection (Shiancoe’s touchdown).

So don’t be too down on Adrian, as everyone has a bad day.  He needs to continue to work on ball security, as well.  But, dang, how nice is it that our team can finally win football games when Adrian has an off-day? 

Hello Mr. Berrian, Nice To Meet You!

Bernard Berrian has had a very, very slow start to his season.  That all ended on Monday night.  Berrian was Favre’s top target and he ended with 6 catches for 75 yards and a wide open touchdown. 

Much has been made of the lack of chemistry between Brett Favre and Bernard Berrian, and last night it still looked rocky at points.  But Berrian’s improved stat line goes to show that they’re working on it and that this could be an explosive duo for us down the stretch.

Sidney Rice Making His Mark

When Sindey Rice was drafted by the Vikings he wasn’t even old enough to drink alcohol.  Being a second round pick a lot of people expected him to have an instant impact and grew frustrated when he wasn’t productive and struggled with injuries.

You have to understand though that a player that young and raw is drafted as a project, not as an instant starter.  Rice has developed nicely and if he can stay healthy is proving his worth lately. 

On Monday night he had a number of nice run blocks, recovered two onside kicks (all time team record), and snatched five balls for 70 yards and a touchdown. 

The kid can play, and we aren’t even close to seeing what he’s truly capable of yet.  Keep an eye on him the rest of this season, because Bernard Berrian will doubtless get the most attention from defenders and Sidney Rice has what it takes to be a game changer.

Moving The Chains

As previously mentioned, Brett Favre was incredibly efficient on Monday night (eating a spoonful of crow at the moment).  The team stats on the offensive side of the ball are ones we are not used to seeing.

For starters, the Vikings got 22 first downs, 14 of which came through the air.  The third down efficiency was at a very nice 57% and they went 1 for 1 on fourth down.  They gained a total of 334 yards on 62 plays, averaging 5.4 yards per play.

The stat that REALLY jumps out as something we, as Vikings fans, are not used to seeing is their red zone efficiency.  The Vikings went 3 for 3 in the red zone, a perfect 100% touchdown ratio.

Nice.

Seriously Though, Was Bevell Trying to Lose?

When you have a lead as big as we had in the fourth quarter, the goal should be obvious.  Chew up the remaining time by running the ball and completing high percentage passes.

For some reason the Vikings decided to open up their playbook with a sizeable fourth quarter lead.  They took multiple shots down the field.  They tried a trick play designed to have Sidney Rice throw a deep ball (he has a good arm, but the timing was stupid).  And they gave the Packers a fighting chance to recover their final onside kick and drive down the field to tie.

Luckily for Childress and Bevell, Sidney Rice is also really good at recovering onside kicks, otherwise they would’ve been burned at the stake for letting the Pack back into the game with their abysmal play calling.

 

Check Back Soon For Thoughts On The Defense And Special Teams

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9 Responses to “Spreading The Love: The Offense”

  1. B says:

    What a game… Favre was on fire, despite his numerous statements about no hard feelings with the Pack, I’m pretty sure last nights game says otherwise, he was out for blood.

    B
    http://vikingsfootballhome.blogspot.com/

  2. bridgit says:

    Let’s hope the Vikings win at Lambeau too. That would be sweet!

  3. c.carterhof says:

    I know you are starting to like old Brett, I can feel it in your writing.
    At least a little?

    I really liked what I saw with Rice, I agree, he’s gonna be good.

  4. The only QB to beat every team in the NFL?? Congratulations Mr. Favre..!!

  5. CCC says:

    gotta love the line play

    TJ or Sage would have won last night with it

  6. JT says:

    Hey Adam…. Can I take you back about a month or so ago??? – “Handbook: For those Who Love The Vikings But Hate Brett Favre”

    You sure came around since then, didn’t you? I’ll bet you even went out and bought a Favre Jersey by now…..

    It’s good to see that you are finally respecting what us Packer Fans had enjoyed so much for 16 years…. And since you have a “Handbook” – Let me take you back so you can see the WHOLE picture:

    2005 – Despite Favres’ request for the Packers to draft a player with enough talent to support the offense and Favre, the Pack elected to draft Rodgers.

    2006 – Ted Thompson interviewed Mike McDummy for the Head Coach Position –
    Mike McDummy was given the position 3 days later despite Favres’ repeated requests to take into consideration another unnamed coach

    2007 – Despite Favres’ offer of giving up a substantial amount of his salary in hopes of aquiring Randy Moss, the Packers chose to pass on him.

    The man loves football… After 13 years, I am comfortable assuming that Brett knows if he has a team that could potentially go to and/or win the Superbowl. I am comfortable assuming he knows which players he would click with…

    What would you do Mr. Warwas??? What would you do if you loved football, wanted to win, and the Team you helped build wanted to build for the future instead of the present??? Football is a NOW Business! Lets win now! Which is why Chilly elected to pull in Favre… To win now! Not 4 years from now. Yes, Brett threatened retirement several times as a cry for help and nothing more. Last year I would say was an exception, and I am sure everyone realizes that now…. I truly believe it was well thought out in the end…

    *Career ending injury

    *No intent on getting surgery, but asks the Jets for his release

    *Surgery is performed successfully

    *Again waffles in regards to signing with the Vikes

    *We hear rumors of a real estate transaction, hotel rooms being booked in Green Bay… C’mon! That was a tell all. I knew it was inevitable even after he said he was remaining retired…

    *Signs AFTER the stressful 2-a-days, dormroom living, and OTA’s….

    He got what he wanted… To sign with a “Now Team.” Im sure there were quite a few scenarios running through his mind all the time.. Like, the possibility of actually losing to the Pack, and how he would NEVER hear the end of it…. Not performing up to par, and how he would NEVER hear the end of it…. Or, NOT being accepted by the Vikings Players, Fans, etc….

    And, I couldn’t be more happy for the guy…. I want the Vikes to win the Superbowl! I’ve been rooting for them the entire season…. Even on Monday, where I donned my White Brett Favre Away Jersey to the local Sports Bar. People asked who I was rooting for, and I told them the Vikes.. My reasoning is two-fold:

    *1) I want Brett to go out on top…. He deserves it.

    *2) As long as Brett is playing in the NFC, my Packers don’t have a chance in hell of winning the Conference, let alone a Championship or the Bowl Game.

    It’s simple, The Vikes go to and win the Superbowl… The Pack fans run the 3 Stooges (Ted Thompson, Mike McDummy, Mark Murphy) out of town for being absolutely f#%@ing stupid… And I can go back to being a Packer Fan…

    And, while at the sports bar Monday night… I had a fellow Pack fan say to me before the game “You never go against the family” and late in the game came up to me and again said “You never go against the family, Brett is dead to me…. I can’t believe he would do this to us.” Are you serious????!!!!! do this to us???? The Packers Management did this to “US.” Blame them!

    Packers fans everywhere need to realize… It’s human nature to want to win. Brett joined a winning team. He’s a winner… They let him go… They gave up on him.. They thought he was through… And I KNOW>>>>>>> Just like myself, Packers Fans everywhere are checking in on Vikings.com and other Vikings advocate websites…..

    • Adam Warwas says:

      Jt,

      2005: Pack draft Rodgers, who is the 5th highest rated quarterback in the league, even though his O-line has let him get sacked 20 times in 4 games. This is a bad thing?

      2006: Thompson hires McCarthy as a head coach instead of pandering to a player’s request. Within a year there is talk of him being Coach of the Year. This is a bad thing?

      2007: Moss used Green Bay as leverage for his contract with New England. It is well documented that Green Bay did their best to try and obtain him. Moss screwed them by waiting until the second day of the draft to turn them down and sign with the Pats. This is where pandering to a player’s requests get you.

      What’s next in your weird version of history, JT?

  7. Adam Warwas says:

    lol @ everybody. I’m not going deny that Favre deserves credit for a VERY solid game on Monday. If the Uni Bomber lined up and threw three TDs against the Packers I’d be fine as long the Vikings won.

    But I do not have a Favre jersey, never will. In fact, I said this would happen… so go back and read the Handbook a little closer JT. And thanks, JT, for giving us the history on Favre’s un-re-re-un-re-un-retirement, as none of us had heard the story even mentioned before…

    Maybe this will jog your memory as to how I feel: http://www.vikingsgab.com/2009/09/30/2150/

  8. […] The Vikings laid the smack down on their most hated rivals, the Green Bay Packers , in front of a gigantic Monday night audience. They remain atop the NFC North division, ahead of the Bears by one game. They are ahead of the Packers by two games now, and 3 ahead of the … October 6th, 2009 at 3:49 pm. What a game… Favre was on fire, despite his numerous statements about no hard feelings with the Pack, I’m pretty sure last nights game says otherwise, he was out for blood. …Continue […]

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